How to Install a Skylight Tube
Bring loads of natural light into an interior space with a skylight tube. The idea of cutting a hole in a roof may be intimidating, but this project can be completed in a few hours with midlevel DIY skills.
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Before starting this project:
Use caution when working in attic spaces, and only step on plywood or joists. Drywall will collapse under a person's weight, resulting in a fall and possible serious injury.
Double-check measurements before making cuts in the roof.
This project is best completed with the help of a second person.
- skylight tube kit
- hammer and 2" nails
- extension tube (if space between ceiling and roof is more than 48")
- plumb line
- drill equipped with drill and driver bits
- tin snips
- tape measure
- duct tape/foil tape
- safety glasses
- work gloves
- chalk gun
- roofing cement
- attic access
- exterior silicone
Determine Placement of Skylight Tube
From the attic, find a place to install skylight tube between ceiling joists. (It may be necessary to cut out a section of plywood flooring to gain access to drywall ceiling.) Push a nail or screw in center of desired location. View it from inside the room to make sure placement is good. When proper place is determined, hang a plumb line from room to nail/screw. Make a mark when the plumb line is lined up. With a hammer, drive a large nail through roof to mark placement. If a straight tube placement isn't possible, tube can be fitted at angles to accommodate stairs/dormers, etc. Test-fit tubing to determine proper placement of roof hole. Tip: A plumb line can be made out of a piece of string and a washer.
Cut Hole in Ceiling
Use the hole template from kit and a pencil to draw a circle to appropriate size of skylight tube. Cut around circle using jigsaw (Image 1, 2). Tip: It's helpful to have someone underneath the circle to vacuum dust with shop vac and to catch drywall circle.
Cut Hole in Roof
Climb up on roof using ladder placed in a sturdy location. Using center point marked with the large nail used in step 1, use template and a piece of chalk to draw circle (Image 1). Cut along circle with a jigsaw (Image 2). (In the case of this installation a small hole was cut to accommodate a plug for jigsaw, but this is not necessary.) Tip: Wear shoes with good treads like hiking boots, work boots or trail running shoes when working on a roof.
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